White Flag is a masterpiece encaustic painting by Jasper Johns in 1955. It belongs to his iconic flag series, where he drained the American flag’s well-known red, white, and blue colors resulting in an eerie yet intriguing representation. Displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, White Flag was first purchased from the artist himself in 1998.
The painting reflects Johns’ fascination with everyday recognizable objects as a departure from Abstract Expressionism’s precedent for non-objective works. White Flag’s colorless representation offers an open door to interpretations by art lovers and critics alike concerning its socio-political relevance.
Johns’ love for the American flag as a symbol is evident in his repeated depictions of flags across different media. White Flags are displayed on walls or ceilings and printed on paper or canvas. All iterations vary in size but retain their lack of coloration, rendering them almost ghostlike against their background.
White Flag showcases Jasper Johns’ ability to challenge tradition while introducing new perspectives that continue to inspire artists today.